Franco-American (aka Winemaker Tasting Tuesday, March 19 6-7:30 PM)

Alexandre Remy

No, not Spaghetti-o's. Although that IS a related story. In 1886, French immigrant Alphonse Biardot founded the Franco-American Food Company, aiming to introduce the foods of his homeland to an American audience in a convenient and cost-effective package: cans. His gambit paid off in a big way. In fact, Franco-American's canned soups and pastas were so successful that food giant Campbell's Foods bought out Biardot in 1915. The soups were soon re-labeled 'Campbell's', but they kept the Franco-American label on the pastas until the 1990's. Who could ever forget 'Uh-oh! Spaghetti-o's'?

Winemaker Alexandre Remy is on a similar mission. After a career that has spanned the Languedoc, Rhone, Australia, and New Zealand, he landed in California determined to give American consumers what his fellow Frenchmen view as a birthright: the ability to buy a great bottle of wine at a very reasonable price.

His winery, Omen, crafts wines from areas they call 'hidden gems': AVAs like the Sierra Foothills, which while relatively unknown, offer superb quality for the price. They harvest vibrant, heathy, flavorful fruit, so there's no need to add sweeteners, gum arabic, or Velcorin. (Sorry to say, that's a common practice, and wineries aren't required to disclose the use of these or any of the other 62 additives legally allowed into your wine.) End result: delicious wine, made from just grapes plus yeast, available at a wallet-friendly price. Sign us up!

We'd love to have everyone meet Alexandre and taste the Omen wines. Luckily for us (and you!), he'll be at the store Tuesday night, pouring samples, discussing wines, and signing bottles. Stop by and try our version of Franco American. So much better than Spaghetti-o's.

Tasting is free and open to the public.